Like almost everything else in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, Poetry Street has had to adapt and evolve to survive and thrive.

The Riverhead-based, open-mic venue for poetry and the spoken word, founded in 2014 by Susan Dingle of Cutchogue and Robert “Bubbie” Brown of Riverhead, has turned to Zoom for its monthly events.

Poetry Street is hosting a “Founders Day Celebration” today, featuring Dingle and Brown as well as its traditional open mic session. Join Zoom meeting here.

“Our original vision was a social justice ministry where
every voice is heard,” said Poetry Street cofounder Dingle. Going virtual has allowed Poetry Street to truly become that “room without a roof” Dingle said she and Brown envisioned.

The group’s new director, Chip Williford, “has taken the concept to the next level, and we look forward to what’s next for Poetry Street,” Dingle said.

“Chip’s background as a technical director, stage manager and editor, as well as a socially engaged poet and host, make him an ideal choice,” Dingle said.

In 2017, Williford launched a YouTube series, “Poetry Street on the Road,” a series of nine episodes featuring 16 poets, and ultimately “Poetry Street On The Road:The Film”, comprising Chip’s favorite poems from season one.

Williford also developed a new website as well as a social media presence for Poetry Street. The new website includes the Poetry Street archives, Poetry Street on the Road season one on YouTube, featured poets’ bios and a link to the next Zoom reading.

Williford cohosts the monthly event with Maggie Bloomfield, Emmy Award-winning lyricist for her work on Sesame Street.

Poetry Street meets on the last Saturday of every month. Check the group’s website for updates.

Poetry Street was founded as a public arts project for the End Arts JumpstART program. It convened monthly at the Blue Duck Bakery Café in Riverhead. After Blue Duck closed its Riverhead location last June, Poetry Street began meeting at Sunny’s Riverhead Diner and Grill.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.